Tracking post-holiday travel numbers as tourists flock to San Diego for the 4th

SEAPORT VILLAGE (KUSI) – San Diegans are noticing the record-breaking number of tourists spending time from the beaches to the bay, most choosing America’s finest city as their first post-pandemic vacation. The Independence Day weekend clocked in as the second-busiest day for travel ever recorded.

Doug Shupe with Automobile Club of Southern California said this could be a forecast for the months and years to come.

“If these travel numbers are any indication of what’s to come, we’re expecting very busy roadways and freeways in Southern California,” Shupe said. “New travel bookings in June of this year were 6% higher than travel bookings in June of 2019, before the pandemic. And that was actually our busiest year on record for travel.” 

This holiday weekend was a chance for people to make up for lost time and make memories that so many have dreamed about for the last 15 months.

“It was like freedom, Independence Day was totally like freedom,” said Diksha Janardhana, visiting from the Bay Area. “Being out of the house and being able to get out — it’s a sense of normalcy after everyone’s vaccinations. We are totally enjoying this holiday.”

3.3 million Southern Californians were expected to travel this holiday weekend with over 2 million taking to the roads and freeways. With the rush of traffic comes the rush of tourists, meaning money spent at local businesses.

“Well, today we went to the Children’s Museum, and we enjoyed that and we came over here to Seaport Village,” said Karen Feliciano visiting from Florida. “Then my mom saw that table. She likes to shop, and I saw these bracelets and I thought they were very unique.”

Money invested in the local economy is kick starting a re-bound that San Diego desperately needs after a year of loss. Experts predict the domino effect will continue well into the fall and winter months.

With all of the anticipated travel to come, it’s really important that you book early. We’re hearing a lot of folks who are planning summer trips, fall trips, and winter trips,” Shupe said.

Shupe suggested planning ahead with travel agents and ensuring the places you’re visiting don’t have any pandemic-related restrictions still in place.

KUSI’s Hunter Sowards was live in Seaport Village with more details on post-pandemic travel trends.

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